In the Bible, oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13). True Christians have the promise for the presence of the Spirit who leads them into all truth and anoints them continually with His grace and comfort “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth” (1 John 2:20).
Anointing with oil was used in the Old Testament for pouring on the head of the high priest and sprinkling the tabernacle and its furnishings to set it apart to the Lord (Exodus 25:6; Leviticus 8:30; Numbers 4:16).
And in the New Testament, anointing was an important ministry of the church. The purpose of this anointment was for both the physical and the spiritual healing of the soul. Mark 6:13 states, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” And in Mark 14:3-9, Mary anoints Jesus‘ feet as an act of gratitude and worship.
The apostle James instructs, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James 5:14,15).
This is a promise of healing. It is the will of God that the sick may receive healing. Oil in this passage, is a symbolic act of faith and submission to God and should be practiced today in our churches and worship services.
Finally, in the book of Hebrews, we read that God the Father anointed His Son for loving righteousness during His earthly ministry “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions” (Hebrews 1:8-9). The anointing, in this passage, is symbolical of blessing and joy (Deut. 28:40; Ps. 23:5; 92:10).
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,